Saturday, June 24, 2006

sacred and profane

So, "Thee, Hannah!" has a few different blogs these days, mostlly one for "quaker stuff" and one for "less serious stuff" (my words, not hers - I think)

and I wonder about that. There's certainly stuff I want to write about that doesnt' feel as "quaker" as what other bloggers write, and yet, I'm a quaker all the time - not just when I'm meditating or being righteous.

There is definitely stuff I won't write about here, and I'm not sure why not. Stuff about love, sex, romantic relationships, dealing with crazy people.....

Now if I ever find a way to be all HOLY about these things, I might write about it - but right now I'm just muddled and sad. And well, a little crazy. It's "not appropriate" - but isnt' all of us in God, all the time? If we don't feel God there isnt' it a call to seek, rather than to shut off that part of our life as somehow outside spirit???


Lorcan said...

Maybe there are lessons, appart from the storries that can inform your blogging about faith?


James Riemermann said...

Pam, reading between the lines of your post, and knowing who you are, I think you already recognize this. It might even be your central point, stated ironically. But I'll say it anyway: don't confuse holiness with hygiene.

"Stuff about love, sex, romantic relationships, dealing with crazy people....." Isn't all that sad, muddled, crazy, messy, sloppy, conflicted, creaturely stuff the very essence of holiness? If holiness can't deal with real life, what's the use of it?

So, write what you're led to write, but if you're not bringing your whole human self to Quakerism, you're cheating yourself, and the rest of us, too. Also, weren't you human before you were Quaker?

(Once again, I know you well enough to know you're not that way, in fact far less that way than most people I know. Less that way than me, probably. But this post stirs up a reaction in me.)

Thee, Hannah! said...

I hope you don't think I'm intentionally trying to cut off parts of myself from one another! I'm not! I promise! I'm just much less confusing this way. Besides, my secular smart-assiness invariably sneaks over into Thee, Hannah! and gets me in trouble.

My mother made a wallhanging quilt a few years ago--well, probably ten years ago now--in three sections. One was neat window-panes full of flowers, one was happy, colorful, zig-zags, and one was darker colors in an orderly but sort of exotic pattern. She named it "Me, Myself, and I".

I'm substituting blogs for quilts right now. I'm not trying to cut myself up so much as I'm trying to control the chaos so I can think. That's all.

Zach A said...

The Friend (James) speaks my mind...

Pam, I've struggled with this very issue. Two unconnected thoughts:

* I just came back from a NEYM YAF retreat on spirituality and sexuality. I don't think we achieved any profound integration of the two, but we did talk openly and honestly about our sexuality, with an astounding range of experience and inexperience, many from unexpected sources. Without a doubt it was the best YAF retreat I've been to. And I think the main thing was that it allowed us to bring our "private" lives "into the light", so to speak. I'm probably posting about it soon.

* I think a lot about sexuality and relationships, but haven't felt like I should talk about that stuff on a Quaker blog, or even any public blog, and have been toying with the idea of starting an anonymous blog elsewhere.

Zach A said...

...probably should elaborate on that last point. It feels like one's audience as a Quaker blogger is probably made up of a cross section of the Quaker world, which would statistically include a certain percentage of people who are less than fully comfortable with their sexuality (and so might not appreciate reading about someone else's), or who are set in their ways (and so might find new ideas offensive). One way of dealing with this problem is, like Hannah is doing with serious vs. non-serious, would be to have two blogs.

earthfreak said...

TH- No, I didn't mean to say anything negative about you. I brought it up because the idea is appealing to me, but I'm not comfortable with why (because of me)

I guess the tendency to think of parts of myself as "secular" or "silly" or "profane" (I mean, swearing, which I do) etc. as seperate from the part that is "holy" disturbs me.

I don't believe in God, but I believe in something I hear behind exhortations to live "for the glory of God" -

I think I have written about this before, that I hope to joke with my friends, have sex, walk my dogs, scold my dogs, ride my bike, eat my food, maybe even use the bathroom, in the full light of God.

earthfreak said...

Oops, I don't think I was done.

So, the idea of setting aside stuff that doesnt' "live up" to some vision of my quaker self seems to reinforce a vision that I don't want to have of my life. - Though I have a great tendency to want to do it.

At the same time, I don't want that to mean being always "on guard" - as if I can't swear, or laugh at something extremely silly, as if life should be no fun at all. I don't want holiness to me to be about deprivation, but abundance (an overused word) - So that maybe I'll swear less, if I stay in my "holy" mind, because it doesn't really feed my spirit, or God.

Or maybe I'll keep swearing as much as I do, and realize that God encompasses strong emotions that are decently expressed that way.

I have always had trouble with the word "sacred" since I learned years ago that it means "set apart" - or not of daily life. Because for me the sacred is found in ordinary moments lived fully. The word "holy" is more alien to me, but I assume that it is related to "holistic" - or of the whole - so, to be sacred is to be out of the hustle and bustle of worldly life, but to be holy is to be integrated and whole in it, with it. I guess that's where I want to be headed.